Dubai: Traveling is a huge part of life for many people in the UAE. In fact, even with the economic uncertainties, residents still have the wanderlust in them and are expected to continue satisfying their urge to travel and enjoy new experiences over the next few years.
By 2020, vacation-bound consumers will have increased their spending by more than $8 billion (Dh29.3 billion) on airfares, food, hotel stays, museum and park tickets as they fly to various destinations in the region and across the world.
According to the latest data, provided to Gulf News by Euromonitor International just before the kick-off of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, travel spending by UAE residents grew 8.2 per cent in 2015, reaching $20.8 billion (Dh76 billion).
That’s roughly Dh8,174 a year per person, or more than the average monthly salary of a receptionist working in Dubai, based on Payscale figures. In about four years, travel spending by UAE residents is estimated to reach $29 billion, up 40 per cent from 2015.
Nikola Kosutic, research manager at Euromonitor International, said the continued growth in holiday spending has been fueled by rising population numbers, coupled with higher disposable income and better connectivity.
Across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, Euromonitor estimated that total holiday spend grew by 8 per cent to $75 billion in 2015. The figure is forecast to hit $109 billion by 2020.
Euromonitor’s travel spending figures represent the amount of money that consumers spend on transportation, air tickets, accommodation, activities, food and shopping, among many others, while on holiday overseas.The data supplied by the market research and business intelligence provider coincided with the findings of a separate study.
American Express has recently commissioned a survey to look into the luxury spending habits of 430 respondents in the GCC. The research found that there was little slowdown in consumer spending in the region last year.
Only a small proportion (18 per cent) of respondents in the UAE said they spent less in 2015 “but it was apparent that many had shifted their spending to focus more on the necessities of life.”
This year, nearly half (46 per cent) in the UAE plan to spend on holidays, dining and spa treatments. About a quarter (25 per cent) anticipate to spend the most on holidays.